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Noosa Fish Incident

13 January 2009

Ref: 2009/01

"The APVMA has received reports of deformities in fish embryos identified on the Noosa River," Dr Simon Cubit, Manager Public Affairs said today.

"These reports contain claims that chemical run-off and/or spray drift from macadamia farms may be a cause of these deformities. Some commentators have gone so far as to suggest that two specific chemicals, carbendazim and endosulfan, are to blame".

"This is an issue of concern to the APVMA. In addition to investigations being conducted by Queensland state authorities and the local council, the APVMA has asked the Commonwealth Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts to provide advice".

"These investigations will be crucial in understanding what happened," Dr Cubit said.

"Over 200 chemicals are currently registered for use on macadamias including carbendazim and endosulfan. Hopefully these investigations will determine if chemicals were involved and, if they were, what those chemicals were".

"Once this is understood, the next step would be to establish if the chemicals involved were being properly used according to label instructions".

"Evidence that chemicals used according to label instructions led to adverse environmental impacts would give cause for the APVMA to reconsider appropriate regulatory measures. Chemicals used contrary to label instructions, on the other hand, would be an issue for state authorities", he said.

The registration status of carbendazim is already currently under review by the APVMA because of concerns it could cause developmental abnormalities in experimental animals and hence might pose a potential public and occupational health and safety risk.

Endosulfan has recently been reviewed by the APVMA. Currently, scientific evidence suggests that endosulfan registrations remain appropriate given the controls that are in place. The APVMA will consider any outcome of the investigations currently underway.


Download the PDF version: Media Release - Noosa Fish Incident (PDF, 39kb).

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